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The American Academy of Grief Counseling
Grief Counseling Certification and education

Frequently asked Questions and Responses (FAQs)

Welcome to the FAQs section for the American Academy of Grief Counseling. This area is provided to you as a source of information that may be more clarified, related to questions you may have in regards to our certification and our fellowship programs. Information regarding recertification, as well as information about our online continuing education courses, is also provided. We highly recommend that you first thoroughly review all of the information on our website, under the main page for grief counseling Certification and Fellowship. Access main page. If after reviewing all of the provided information and this FAQs section, any other questions may be addressed by completing our request for information form online (access info form). Thank you for your interest in the American Academy of Grief Counseling.

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What is Certification?

Response: certification is a voluntary process, which is provided by a well organized organization, that through its qualified advisory boards, develops comprehensive and quality standards for the practice of a type of specialty. The developed standards address high quality requirements for the practice of a certain specialty. The defined standards speak to educational and/or practice requirements, any required prerequisites, and the need to adhere to a defined code of ethics for the practice specialty. Certification is a voluntary process. It is different than any type of licensing. Certification is one means by which professionals may be publicly recognized as achieving a high level of education, knowledge base and practice skills for a certain healthcare related specialty. Certification also assists employer organizations and clients in their assessment of appropriate qualifications for candidates seeking positions in organizations and/or involved in private practices. It is commonly held, today, that certification by a very well organized professional organization, is fast becoming a "gold standard" for specialty practices. Certification testifies and provides a verification of defined educational requirements, adherence to a solid code of ethics, and in many instances prerequisites of practice experience for the practice of grief counseling, bereavement education and facilitation, thanantology and closely related professional services.

What are the criteria/standards I will need to meet to achieve certification?

Response: The educational criteria and standards are well and clearly defined within our website. Please access our main page to preview these requirements. Access here.

May I apply for and be conferred certification in grief counseling if I have been practicing grief counseling in a clinical setting or private practice with out the need to meet the educational requirements?

Response: No. The Board that oversees the development and approval of defined criteria and standards for certification will not consider only practice experience as meeting requirements in full. This decision was made as those who are already in counseling practices have varied and different experiences related to grief counseling and there is no insured uniformity that all who have practiced grief counseling have the same knowledge base and skills attainment. The evaluation of one's past practice experience in grief counseling is highly variable and subjective. As such, the Board has developed objective criteria/standards for the conferral of certification. For these reasons, practice experience without the attainment of education will not be considered as fulfilling criteria and standards for our certification.

Over the years, I have completed many seminars and continuing education courses related to grief counseling. Will these apply toward the education requirements for certification?

Response: You must have completed one of our approved programs in order to qualify for Certification. There are several programs which the American Academy of Grief Counseling has approved. You may access info on these approved programs: access here.

The American Academy of Grief Counseling also sponsors a full program of continuing education courses by distance education, which qualify one to apply for and received certification: access here. Candidates must meet at least one of the defined pre-requisites for Certification to be eligible to enter this continuing education program.

 

What is the major practice focus of a grief counselor?

Response: a grief counselor is one who is very knowledgeable in the area of "normal grief." This practitioner is well-versed in the normal grief reaction and process that occurs to many types of losses, such as death, divorce, separation, etc. A grief counselor works with clients in need and focuses on assessing whether or not the client is experiencing a normal grief process in reaction to a loss, or whether the client is experiencing a more significant and serious reaction. If the client is experiencing normal grief, then the grief counselor acts as an educator, a good listener, a support person, an advocate, and a coach in assisting clients to better understand and move through the process of dealing with normal grief. Certification as a grief counselor does not in any way qualify one to practice higher levels of grief therapies. The practice of therapy, as related to grief, is reserved for those who are educated and licensed in the practice of behavioral therapies. Certification as a grief counselor in no way infers that the person is qualified or legally licensed to conduct any type of therapies. Certification as a grief counselor does help ensure that the counselor can identify major symptoms of more complicated grief and refer clients to a qualified and legally licensed therapist.

Where do grief counselors practice?

Response: Grief counselors practice in many varied settings today. The services of grief counselors are in much demand throughout our country and throughout the world. This was made evident during recent past traumatic national disasters and events which have occurred, and in which there had been identified a serious lack of grief counseling services. Grief counselors today work for and/or practice in the following areas; hospices, funeral homes, acute care and long-term care facilities, for private churches, for public and private social service agencies, in private practices, as grief educators, and in other similar types of practice settings. Many grief counselors also work as volunteers for these types of agencies. Grief counselors also are in demand as the funeral services industry continues to transform itself in offering After-Care programs. Many grief counselors also actively participate in community grief support groups.

Does the American Academy of Grief Counseling provide approvals for education programs whose graduates would qualify for being conferred certification?

Response: Yes. We do provide a full program approval process for those education facilities and or organizations providing education related to grief counseling. Applications for program approval are thoroughly reviewed and must adhere to the defined standards and criteria as established by the advisory board. Once a particular education program has been approved it is then posted as an approved program on our website (view approved programs). Graduates of programs we have approved may apply for certification.

does the American Academy of Grief Counseling provide any education programs in which I may achieve the 100 hours of education in grief counseling?

Response: Yes. The American Academy of Grief Counseling now provides a full program of four (4) key courses in grief counseling. All of these courses are offered as online, continuing education courses. You may preview more information on our online continuing education courses to meet certification requirements, by accessing this link.

WHAT IS THE PROCESS FOR ACHIEVING THIS CERTIFICATION?

Response: There is a two-phase process. In order to provide clear and sufficient information on the process we have developed a separate page that defines the process. You may access this information on the certification process at this link: click here.

How can I make application?

Response: Making application is an easy process. We provide on this website a link to a printable application. Those wishing to make application may access this link, print out the application form, completed it, and submit it to our office for review. You may access online applications at this link. Please note that incomplete applications will not be reviewed. All applications that are submitted must be complete and include all required documents and verifications as specified for review and consideration of certification conferral.

Once I have achieved certification, must I ever be recertified?

Response: Yes. A conferred certification has a period of 3 years. At the end of the three-year period the certification will expire. The American Academy of Grief Counseling provides a full program for recertification. Detailed information on the criteria to be recertified, after the three-year initial certification period, is provided on our website. Access here.

Our organization is sponsoring a one-day seminar on the topic of grief. Does the American Academy of Grief Counseling provide for program approvals for CEU credits?

Response: Yes. We do offer a full program for the approval of education courses, seminars, and other related learning activities related to the topic of grief counseling. If an application for approval is approved, then the sponsoring organization may declare on its CEU certificates that the program has been up reviewed and approved by the American Academy of Grief Counseling. More information is available on our website, access here.

I am currently certified by the American Academy of Grief Counseling. I know I am required to achieve additional education in grief counseling in order to qualify for recertification in the future. Does the American Academy of Grief Counseling offer any continuing education courses that I may take to meet my recertification requirements?

Response: Yes. We do offer several courses at this time, which certified members may register for and take, to meet their education requirements for recertification. These courses are provided within online classrooms and are continuing education courses. Certified members may register for these courses at any time. Also, more courses will be added in the near future, including continuing education courses which are approved and can be taken for those certified members who would like to advance to Fellowship in the Academy. Access information.

 

Are there any "sub-specialty" Certification and Continuing Education programs offered by the American Academy of Grief Counseling?

Reponse: Yes. The American Academy of Grief Counseling offers the following, additional "sub-specialty" programs in Grief Counseling. Please access the provided links to review full program information on the sub-specialty programs.

Child and Adolescent Grief Counseling: access information

Pet-Loss Grief Recovery Specialist: access information

Request Information

Online Resource Board

Call for Course Authors/Instructors

Pastoral Thanatology Certification

The American Academy of Grief Counseling also offers a comprehensive program for "Pastoral Thanatology" Certification. Access information.

Update: January 2011 Grief Counseling Blog